Sky Ridge certified for second-tier stroke care

Hospital is only one in county able to perform a thrombectomy

Posted 10/15/19

Sky Ridge Medical Center has received certification as the only hospital in the state as a thrombectomy-capable stroke center, similar to a Level II trauma designation, meaning it now can perform a …

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Sky Ridge certified for second-tier stroke care

Hospital is only one in county able to perform a thrombectomy

Posted

Sky Ridge Medical Center has received certification as a thrombectomy-capable stroke center, similar to a Level II trauma designation, meaning it now can perform a thrombectomy, a specialized procedure to remove a blood clot from a patient's blood vessel in the event of a stroke. Several are comprehensive stroke care centers and are capable of performing this procedure. Littleton Adventist Hospital is the nearest hospital for comprehensive stroke care.

Sky Ridge received its thrombectomy-capable designation from The Joint Commission, a not-for-profit organization that accredits more than 22,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, according to The Joint Commission's website, jointcommission.org.

“Earning this designation reflects our commitment to both clinical excellence and superior patient care,” said Susan Hicks, CEO of Sky Ridge Medical Center. “Sky Ridge is proud of our team for working so diligently and to be one of the few hospitals providing this life-saving service to our community.”  

There are four levels of stroke certifications The Joint Commission provides. A comprehensive stroke center can perform a thrombectomy and treats patients who have suffered an aneurysm. The nearest hospitals for comprehensive stroke care are Littleton Adventist, St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, Swedish Medical Center in Englewood and UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora.

“Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center Certification recognizes health care organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement in patient safety and quality of care,” stated nurse Mark Pelletier, the chief operating officer for accreditation and certification for The Joint Commission, in a press release. “We commend Sky Ridge Medical Center for using certification to reduce variation in its clinical processes and to strengthen its program structure and management framework for stroke patients.”

There are 23 primary stroke centers in Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Parker Adventist and Castle Rock Adventist are each primary stroke centers.

“Every minute (during a stroke), you lose 2 million neurons,” said nurse Michelle Whaley, the hospital's stroke program coordinator. “Before, we would have to fly them to Swedish … Now you get to stay here at Sky Ridge, your family doesn't have to drive into Denver to see you. It's just nicer to have these things closer to home.”

Littleton Adventist received its certification almost one year ago.

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death, according to the CDC. 

The major distinction between a primary stroke center and thrombectomy-capable stroke center is the hospital's ability to perform a thrombectomy, a procedure to remove a blood clot from a blood vessel, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, hopkinsmedicine.org. A surgeon makes an incision into a blood vessel, the clot is removed and the blood vessel is repaired. The procedure restores blood flow. Whaley said it's like stroke-reversal surgery.

Whaley said patients who receive the surgery have a 70% chance at having a “great outcome.” A patient is considered to have had a “great outcome” if he or she can return to their daily tasks without assistance after 90 days of treatment.

“For right now, only a handful of hospitals in Colorado can do this. It requires advanced technology and specialized technology, nurses and technologists,” Whaley said. “I think as the years go on, and as physicians get trained in this advanced technology, other hospitals will be able to offer this.”

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